“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The latter procedure, however is disagreeable, and therefore not popular.” — Carl Jung
While my motivations for starting this blog were mostly personal, my aspirations were both personal and cultural: I want to write; I want to make a contribution out of the completely bonkers amount of time I spend reading about science, humanities, political economy, and public policy; I hope to do those things in a way that brings some consciousness to the darkness, which is to say some thought and dialogue to the aspects of current events that go undiscussed.
Why does Hillary Clinton have so much more support from Democrats now than she did in 2008?
Is Pope Francis really a new kind of pope, or does he just sound that way?
Why does anyone think a private citizen in a 21st century free state ever needs to own a gun?
What is going on with the decline of critical thinking and pro-social behavior? Am I just becoming a curmudgeon or is this shit as bad as it seems? Both?
All these superhero shows and movies are great, but what does this mean about the evolution of how our culture creates and disseminates mythologies and how are we doing on sexual, racial, and gender diversity in those myths?
And on and on. Those are some of the cultural questions that I would like to write and dialogue with readers about. The list hasn’t changed much in the two months since I started the blog, begging the question: why can’t I link any of those to an article I wrote?
When I begin a new endeavour – hobby, job, etc – I tend to start with inspiration from those I admire. When it comes to blogging, that is mostly Andrew Sullivan at The Dish, Ta-Nehisi Coates at The Atlantic, and David Weigel at Slate. Sullivan no longer writes The Dish, Coates is no longer blogging as such for The Atlantic (I can’t even find a link to an archive of his blog there, which is really too bad), and Weigel is no longer at Slate. I have so far tried to incorporate various elements of those blogs into this one – Weigel’s keen, strategically detached thinking, Sullivan’s passion and relentless linking to other writers, and most of all Coates’ ability to fuse politics and nerd stuff – and maybe I’ve incorporated those things into my thinking, but that isn’t turning into writing, which is a problem.
Imitation is only the first step of a new endeavour, with the second step being the realization that I am not other people. One thing that distinguishes me from the three writers I mentioned is that I’m neither formally trained nor at all employed as a writer; I’m doing this as a third priority, behind parenting and earning money. It’s really fun when I have a whole evening free that corresponds with a major political event, but it’s too rare to attempt to make it a regular feature. It is also nice when I can take some time to write an in depth TV episode review in a timely fashion, but I’ve got 2.5 unfinished reviews in the drafts folder for every one that I actually published. The sense that I can’t keep up with current events or get reviews published on time is a painful double fail. And this is supposed to be fun!
Step three is to learn from steps one and two and start to do this blog thing my way, both in the sense of within my means and towards my purpose. I am going to start thinking of the blog as a platform for weekly features; I’ll keep doing Bechdel-Wallace scores of nerd shows, but in a weekly digest with links to full reviews elsewhere; I am going to give up trying to find 5 clever things to say about politics every day and instead go for (at least) one thorough, insightful post every week; I am also going to continue to post charts and memes, because that’s currently my favorite creative effort:reward ratio.
I appreciate my readers, both the folks who know me and the (so far) few who wander here unawares. Thanks for bearing with me while I figure out what I am doing. Please help me improve by sharing your thoughts and feedback. Comments on all posts here, on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram are all welcome. You can also send me an email.